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Bill Belichick on Patriots changes, Mac Jones being benched


Belichick was also asked why he thinks he’s still the right coach to lead the Patriots “starting over.”

Bill Belichick during a postgame press conference following the Patriots’ 34-0 loss to the Saints. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Following the Patriots’ 34-0 home loss to the Saints on Sunday, Bill Belichick remained grimly committed in his postgame statement that the team would “start over.”

It remains to be seen exactly what this means for the 2023 Patriots – now 1-4 after losing to New Orleans.

“We’ll just take a look at everything.” Obviously, we didn’t do anything well enough yesterday,” Belichick said Monday in response to a question about starting over during his weekly interview with WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”

As for the team’s mood after the latest loss, Belichick acknowledged reality.

“Frustrated, but we’ll just have to get through it,” he replied. “That’s all we can say about it.”

Mac Jones was on the bench in the second half of the loss. It was the second week in a row that the third-year quarterback was replaced by backup Bailey Zappe, although (as he said Sunday) Belichick still appears committed to Jones as the starter.

Belichick noted that despite Jones being benched for consecutive weeks, he believes he has a good relationship with the team’s 2021 first-round pick.

“I’ve had a good relationship with Mac since he’s been here,” he said. “Meet him regularly and we have a good line of communication. He works hard and I have a lot of respect for what he does.

As for the rest of the offense – a unit that has now failed to score a touchdown in multiple games – Belichick was asked whether he thought “the current roster is good enough?”

“Well, we have to play better than what we’re playing,” Belichick responded. “Play and coach better. »

In a follow-up, the Patriots coach was asked if the team might make another trade (following last week’s decision to reacquire cornerback JC Jackson). Could there be an equivalent addition to the offense?

“Right now, I’m focused on our team’s performance,” Belichick said.

One of his most in-depth comments was about whether or not there is a specific area where the team could improve in its preparation.

“All good plays come with good fundamentals, so we have to be a better fundamental team across the board,” Belichick said. “Again, between the programs, the coaches, the player awareness, the situational awareness, we have to do a better job than what we are doing. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything that can change things, nor any player. We just have to do a better job.

Toward the end of the interview, a testament to where the team currently stands, Belichick was asked why he was the right person to “restart the organization with right now”?

“I’m going to do my best to help our football team,” Belichick responded. “It’s my job.”

He reiterated his answer in a follow-up question about whether or not his message is reaching the current team.

Shortly after the radio interview, Belichick took questions from reporters at a press conference.

With just one win in five weeks, New England’s already distant playoff hopes appear all but gone. Does Belichick think this team can still make the playoffs?

“Our goals are short-term,” he said. “It’s this week, get ready for Vegas, go out there and play the best we can.”

The next game against the Raiders (in Las Vegas) presents another chance to start turning the team around.

To accomplish this, Belichick admitted there could be changes to the depth chart, or perhaps even the coaching staff.

“We need to make some improvements where we are,” he told reporters. “We will see what all this entails. We haven’t addressed it yet, but we will.

Eventually, the questions came back to Jones and the decision to bench him again.

After explaining that part of his rationale for pulling Jones was due to preventing him from being injured in a game out of reach, Belichick took issue with whether he considered Zappe a viable alternative.

“I’m sure if I left Mac in the game and he got hurt, you’d ask me why I left him in the game when it was 31-0,” Belichick responded. “It’s like that.”

As for what the team can do to improve, he cited a holistic approach.

“We just have to do a better job across the board. It’s all of us.


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